Eternal Truths Taught Through Earthly Adoption
At Redeemer we love foster care and adoption. We love that a perfect Father has adopted us. We love that imperfect moms and dads get to adopt. As a church we have seen a number of families adopt or serve as foster families and have more in the process. While participating in adoption it is an amazing gift God allows us to enjoy, it can also be overwhelming and intimidating. Below is a first hand account of what one family learned by going through the process of adopting their son from Ethiopia.
Ethan's Reflection on the adoption process:
In Zechariah 7 God speaks through Zechariah “And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” It is passages like these help us know that God has a heart for the fatherless that has impacted adoption journey and our decision to adopt.
The reality of this "vertical" adoption of Christ for his people and how we were fatherless and God chose to adopt us as sons and daughters has been probably one of the most impactful realities and truths that drove Kelli and I to adopt our son Kenesa. Without God's grace and mercy of the "vertical" adoption and an understanding of what that took and how amazing it is, we may have not have been compelled and burdened to care for the fatherless in our world and felt called to "horizontally" adopt a son who had no father half way across the world. This language from the small book "Reclaiming Adoption" by Dan Cruver and others has really impacted us.
God also calls us to care for those who are oppressed or are prone to oppression and we have a deep conviction to God's call to those people as well. Other passages in the Bible that have compelled us much like Zechariah 7:10 is Isaiah 1:23, Jeremiah 5:28 and Exodus 22:21-22 to name a few. Even before God would reveal his Son (Jesus) he was showing us his character and his care for the needy oppressed (fatherless) in the Old Testament. He knew what we ultimately needed but He also cares about the display of his Glory at all times and this is one way his Glory is shown; the picture of “horizontal” adoption. What it demonstrates is that the Kingdom of God is at hand and it is coming in fullness one day. God will continue to demonstrate and show his rule and reign over the earth.
We started the process of adopting our son in September of 2011. It took nearly 2 years for that reality of legally adopting Kenesa to be complete and we were able to bring him home in late August of 2013. It was a very tough process (to say the least). Two of the toughest aspects for us were the unknown length and many ups and downs of the process and also the sacrifice financially that we had to make to bring him home. God provided for these needs and guided us through these struggles through our local church family as well as our immediate family. The Abba Fund enabled Kelli and I to obtain a no interest loan that paid for the airplane tickets for our first visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This trip was made for the purpose of our court process of legally adopting Kenesa in Ethiopia. It was a blessing to have that paid for and to know that those funds came from the generosity of individuals in our local church.
We now know that this child, our son, has a home and an earthly father. Hopefully one day will be able to call his heavenly father "Savior". Pray that every night for him.
Kelli's thoughts on the process of adopting her son:
The adoption process has so many highs and lows. I will never forget the day we received our referral for Kenesa. It was February 22, 2013 at 10:00 am. I was getting ready to leave the house and the agency called asking if I wanted to see a picture of our son! I was in tears and so excited! I raced down to Ethan’s office with our daughters Lucy and Madeline; we all laid eyes on that picture of our son for the first time. He was beautiful. I instantly knew the Lord had picked him to be a part of our family. We then had to wait 3 months until we got to fly and meet our sweet boy for the first time. Meeting Kenesa was one of the best days of my life. He had and still has a huge smile. Even though we knew we had to go back home and leave him behind leaving Kenesa in Ethiopia was so hard. We had to return home and waited for the U.S. Embassy approval.
I would wake up every night at 3 am checking my email (1 pm Ethiopia time) for that approval email. I would constantly be thinking of him lying there in his crib and I wanted to be with him so badly. Why was this taking so long? Why couldn’t my son be at home with me where he was supposed to be? In those moments I had to preach scripture to myself, I had to pray, I had to remember that I have comfort and security in my Savior not in this adoption and its process. In those moments God was telling me to “be still” He needed me to know that he was in control, he had been in control this whole time and that he was going to bring my Son home. My good friend told me that when I pictured my son laying in his crib that I needed to picture Jesus laying in the crib with him and that was massively helpful.
We finally got clearance to bring him home in August of 2013. Receiving the email that we could bring home Kenesa was another day I will never forget. Traveling to pick him up and taking him home to meet the rest of his family was just amazing. There were times during the process that I was angry, angry with God, angry with our agency, angry at the increasing cost, angry at how long it took. Our church family and immediate family was such a huge support to Ethan and I. Praying for us, giving financially, and just loving and caring for us as we went through this process.
What I have learned is that God’s timing is not our timing but it is perfect, just and right. God needs us to “Be still and know that I am God”. He has always has a plan; he wants us to trust in him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. - Ephesians 1:3-10
Through Christ we have been adopted into God's family. Through Christ we now have an identity as sons and daughters of God. Through Christ we are shown that adoption is an amazing eternal reality by God that we get to show towards others here on earth. Through Christ we are free to pursue earthly adoption, to bring children who have no family and bring them into our family. Adoption and Foster Care are beautiful moments that ultimately point to the wonderful process God went through to adopt us into His family. It is because of Jesus Christ we are able to say we have been adopted for eternity, and the wonderful part about it is that we can not repay God for what he has done to adopt us. Grace from God is an eternal gift but it cost sure cost something. It cost our Savior His life.
If you know of someone that has gone, going or plans on going through the process of adoption and/or foster care. Take some time this week to ask them their story.